Rus­sia nixes UN pro­posal on MH17 tri­bunal

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD -

Rus­sia on Wed­nes­day ve­toed a UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion that would set up an in­ter­na­tional crim­i­nal court to pros­e­cute those re­spon­si­ble for shoot­ing down a Malaysia Air­lines plane over Ukraine a year ago. The for­eign min­is­ters of the Nether­lands, Aus­tralia and Ukraine at­tended a meet­ing over the down­ing that killed all 298 peo­ple on board Flight MH17. The coun­tries are among the five na­tions in­ves­ti­gat­ing the in­ci­dent, along with Malaysia and Bel­gium. Ukraine and the West sus­pect the plane, trav­el­ling from Am­s­ter­dam to Kuala Lumpur, was hit by a sur­face-to-air mis­sile fired by Rus­sian sol­diers or Rus­sia-backed sep­a­ratist rebels on July 17, 2014. Rus­sia de­nies that, and state media have al­leged the plane was shot down by a Ukrainian mis­sile or war­plane. “Rus­sia has cal­lously dis­re­garded the public out­cry in the griev­ing na­tions,” U.S. Am­bas­sador Sa­man­tha Power said, adding that the United States was among the 18 coun­tries that lost cit­i­zens in the dis­as­ter. Three coun­tries ab­stained from the vote: China, Venezuela and An­gola. Wed­nes­day’s vote fol­lowed a last-minute ef­fort to lobby Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, who has said set­ting up a tri­bunal would not make sense while the in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­tin­ued. The Dutch am­bas­sador to the UN, Karel van Oos­terom, tweeted a state­ment say­ing Prime Min­is­ter Mark Rutte told Putin that “it was prefer­able to make a de­ci­sion about the tri­bunal be­fore the facts and charges have been es­tab­lished pre­cisely in or­der to avoid politi­ciz­ing the pros­e­cu­tion process.” But the Krem­lin quoted Putin as say­ing a tri­bunal would be “in­ex­pe­di­ent” be­cause Rus­sia still has “a lot of ques­tions” about the in­ves­ti­ga­tion to which it had lit­tle ac­cess.

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